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Water Rate Change Summary and FAQ

Background Information

Approximately every 10 years the City hires an independent engineering consulting firm to update the City Water Master Plan. The Water Master Plan includes all aspects of the water system, including rates. The Plan and rates are reviewed by an independent financial entity. Upon completion and review of the most recent Water Master Plan, the City Council adopted it on July 6, 2017 by a unanimous vote. The City Council Minutes from July 6, 2017, can be accessed here:

The updated plan prompted a study of the City's water rate structure. The rate structure study was completed on May 1, 2018. It was then reviewed with the Council and Ordinance 18-26 was adopted on June 21, 2018. That ordinance amended the Consolidated Fee Schedule, with the graduated water rate increases coming into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. These new rates were based on the increase of the cost of culinary water the City purchases from Weber Basin, new infrastructure, and increasing maintenance costs, among other needs of the water system.

Significant considerations were made when enacting the increase. For example, the study recommended a larger increase than what the Council adopted. And while realizing an increase was necessary, the City Council determined that, instead of a one-time increase, water rates should be gradually increased over a three year period.

Please note that the impacts of these changes are continually monitored and analyzed to ensure they are consistent with the direction of the study. Upon making these evaluations, adjustments are implemented. For example, having had the new rate structure in effect for a year, and having analyzed that information, the City developed two rate structures. These rate structures distinguish between those with and those without access to secondary water (see the tables below). The analysis of these impacts will continue.

Another act that impacted the rates was a new State law. In 2016 the State of Utah enacted Senate Bill 28, (SB-28). The law, “requires retail water providers to establish an increasing rate structure for culinary water.” In other words, the State required the City to adopt a tiered billing structure for City water. This structure must be formulated so those using more water pay more, at an increasing rate. You can review that legislation here:

Tiered Water Rate Structure: (as of December 1, 2019)

Users with access to secondary water
0 - 6,000 Base Fee $20.80
Between 7,000 and 14,000 $1.85 per 1,000 gallons
over 15,000 $3.60 per 1,000 gallons
Users without access to secondary water
0 - 10,000 Base Fee $20.80
Between 11,000 to 25,000 $1.85 per 1,000 gallons
26,000 - 45,000 $2.32 per 1,000 gallons
46,000 - 79,000 gallons $3.23 per 1,000 gallons
80,000 and over $3.60 per 1,000 gallons

Timeline of water rate related changes

Utah Legislature Enacted (SB -28) January - March 2016
Layton City Council Adopted Water Master Plan July 6, 2017
Layton City Water Master Plan and Rate Study Completed May 2018
Layton City Council adopted new rate structure June 21, 2018
New rate structure effective October 1, 2018
Change from bi-monthly to monthly billing October 1, 2018
First rate increase/amount November 1, 2018 - 35%
Second rate increase/amount December 1, 2019 - 20%
Third rate increase/amount December 1, 2020 - 10%

Utilities FAQ

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Where can I see my billing history and water usage history?
You are able to see this information through your online account on the City’s website or through the Layton City app. Paper bills are also sent each month to those who have not signed up for electronic billing.
Where can I log into my City account on the website and where can I download the Layton City app?
The following link will lead to the City's website where one may register for an account. The Layton City app may be downloaded for Android or iOS. The same login information is used for each. You can also view your payment and usage history.
Should I monitor my water billing and usage?
Citizens can and should monitor their utility bills. This can be done by logging onto your account through the City's website or through the Layton City app. If the bill does not seem consistent for your circumstances, (i.e. either high or low for a given month) please contact Utility Billing at 801-336-3860, as soon as something unusual is noticed.
What are water bills based on?
The bill is based on the number of gallons - in thousands - of water used from one meter reading to the next. Meters are read once a month on or about the same day every month for each household.
Is my water meter reading an estimate?
Every meter is read every month. The City does not estimate reads on water meters, unless the meter is inaccessible. If the meter can't be read we use the base amount and make any adjustments on a following bill.
When is a late fee incurred on an account?
If a payment is not received by the due date, there is a $5 late payment fee and late notices are then mailed. Any account with an unpaid past due balance is subject to being shut off on or after the fourth Tuesday of the month the bill was due.
Why does my bill seem high when I only watered half the month?

Water Bill Summary Timeline

Water UsageSept. 10 - Oct. 10
Bill DateOct. 31
Bill DueDec. 5

Please reference the above timeline. There is a lag time between the reading of the meter and sending out the utility bills. The dates the meter was read can be reviewed by logging into your account through the City's website or the Layton City app.
What if I received a shut off notice in the mail?
The payment and the shut off notice may have crossed in the mail. To ensure there is not a problem please call our Utility Billing office at 801-336-3860.
Why did the City change the water rates?
As explained in the background information, the rate changes were enacted as a result of the Water Master Plan and Rate Study and to comply with State law. This study indicated that without a rate increase the system would not be sustainable financially or operationally.
Where can I find a breakdown of what the water funds are used for?
Citizens can review the water budget on page 3 of the adopted budget document on the City's website.
If the tiered pricing is a State mandate, how are other cities running on a flat rate pricing system?

Prior to October 2018, Layton City had flat rate pricing for consumption levels beyond the base rate. In order to comply with SB-28, from the 2016 Utah State Legislative session, the City adopted the statutory requirements.

If other similarly regulated water systems are still running under a flat rate pricing structure they are not in compliance with State law.

How was the base amount of water use determined?
Upon reviewing historical consumption rates it was determined the average household's indoor water use was less than 7,000 gallons per month. For those without access to secondary water, the average was less than 11,000 gallons per month.
I received a notification that water funds were being transferred to the General City Fund. What is this and why is it happening?
As part of its budget and notice process, the City has sent out a public notice informing the public that money is being transferred to the General Fund from the Water Fund. The amount transferred from the Water Fund to the General Fund is to reimburse the Water Fund’s overhead costs that were paid for by the General Fund. The City does not hire separate legal, financial, IT, human resource and planning personnel that work solely for the Water Fund. These individuals are paid out of the General Fund, and a percentage of their time is spent supporting water operations. The water utility is required to cover its share of these overhead costs. This is not abnormal and has been the case every year. These monies are a reimbursement to the General Fund. This is an accounting requirement to ensure that the water system is self-sustaining. Water funds are not used to supplement the General Fund.
What can be done to absorb some of the billing increase?
As with all utilities, the City advises that citizens adjust their usage to help offset increasing costs.
What has the City done to communicate the rate increase to the public?
In the eight months leading up to the summer 2019 watering season, the City sent out two rate increase notices, published a Layton Today newspaper article, implemented an app for consumers to see bills and notifications, posted several times on social media, and held several budget meetings discussing the rate increases.
What if there is an issue or concern about water rates and usage that needs to be communicated to the City?

Citizens are invited to contact the Utility Billing office at 801-336-3860, about water rates, bills, consumption or with other questions and concerns. The City also responds to all web feedback submitted on the City website.

Citizens are also invited to attend City Council meetings and address the Council directly during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, and during pertinent public hearings.